B.J. Wagner, MS, joined the Meadows Institute in the fall of 2015. In her current role, B.J. works to expand the Institute’s efforts in health and public safety, managing multifaceted law enforcement and first responder projects focused on mental health emergency response, first responder health and wellness, and more. B.J. possesses a unique blend of first-hand law enforcement experience and deep knowledge of police policy and operating procedures, program evaluation, and technical advising. She has developed curriculum for disciplines across the criminal justice system on mental health awareness, symptom recognition, and verbal de-escalation techniques. Her work has led to the creation of national and international award-winning programs.
B.J. has worked across our projects focused on the intersection of behavioral health and justice systems with a specific focus on emergency response models. Starting with our Dallas County Smart Justice Project project, B.J. was the primary architect of the RIGHT Care program in Dallas, Texas’ first Multidisciplinary Response Team. It now has multiple sites across Texas, the US, and serves as the foundation for our national work with Pew Charitable Trusts. Through three legislative sessions, B.J. has worked closely with our governmental relations team on related legislation including the creation of the Nation’s first state supported first responder peer network to end law enforcement suicide.
Since 2019 B.J. has served as the Executive Director of the Caruth Police Institute at the University of North Texas at Dallas (CPI) through a unique collaboration with the Meadows Institute and UNTD and has transformed CPI from a Dallas area police training institute to a nationally recognized leader in police policy, training, and consultation. The CPI is now also home the Texas Active Bystandership in Law Enforcement or Texas ABLE© Center of Excellence.
B.J. serves on the National ABLE Board of Advisors and the Texas Police Chiefs Association Mental Health Pathways Committee, and is the law enforcement lead for the National Co-Responder Consortium.